March 7th, 2012

Fracking: The New Global Water Crisis

Read the full report.Within the past decade, technological advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” have enabled the oil and gas industry to extract large quantities of oil and natural gas from shale formations in the United States. However, the practice has proven controversial. Pollution from modern drilling and fracking has caused wide­spread environmental and public health problems and created serious, long-term risks to under­ground water resources.

In this report, Food & Water Europe reviews the risks and costs of shale development that have been demonstrated in the United States, including eco­nomic costs that run counter to industry-backed claims about the economic benefits of the practice.


Briefly:Food & Water Europe then summarizes the state of shale development in six selected countries: France, Bulgaria, Poland, South Africa, China and Argentina.

  • Strong public opposition to fracking in France and Bulgaria has led to national bans on the practice.
  • The government of Poland has welcomed oil and gas industry plans to develop shale re­sources in the country, but charges of bribery during the process of awarding leases have tainted these plans.
  • Pending an environmental review by the South African government, Royal Dutch Shell may soon be granted permission to drill and frack in South Africa’s Karoo Basin.
  • The Chinese government is pushing an expan­sion of shale development, and numerous oil and gas companies are partnering with Chinese firms, both in the United States and in China.
  • In Argentina, oil and gas companies have begun developing shale oil and shale gas resources in the Neuquén Basin, with the support of the Argentinean government.

Instead of exposing their citizens to the damages of modern drilling and fracking, countries around the world should enact national bans on the practice and invest aggressively in the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies